Is Insuring a Horse Worth It?

Learn the ins and outs of equine insurance.

Insuring your mare could be a good safety net. Stephanie Whitaker photo

Whether they’re part of a business or part of the family, owners need to seriously consider purchasing appropriate insurance on their horses.

Mortality insurance is designed to pay a sum of money after your horse has died from illness, injury, disease or accident. These policies can also provide coverage if your horse is stolen. As a condition, mortality insurance policies usually require that the insured horse is in good health and free from any injury, disease or disability at the time the application is made. Or, if the horse has certain disclosed conditions, the insurance company might issue a policy that excludes coverage for those and related conditions. Mare owners should purchase coverage equal to the mare’s market value.

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Other types of equine-related insurance, which can be purchased with a policy of mortality insurance, include major medical and surgical insurance and loss-of-use insurance.

A common and important condition within equine insurance policies is that the insurance company must receive notice if the insured horse has become injured, lame or ill. Insurance companies could be justified in denying coverage if denied proper and timely notice.

Managers of breeding farms have every incentive to know whether mares in their care are insured, and mare owners should insist that the farm keep this information readily available. In the event of an emergency, if the mare owner cannot be reached, farm management can notify the insurance company on the mare owner’s behalf.

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Liability insurance is also worth considering. While breeding-farm owners should carry commercial general liability insurance for their operations, to protect the farm (and designated persons related to the business), very likely those policies offer no protection for the owners of visiting mares. And the possibility always exists, for example, that the mare could injure a handler or become loose and injure a motorist.

Mare owners seeking to protect themselves against these and other injury-causing situations should consider purchasing personal horse owner’s liability insurance (sometimes also called individual horse owner’s liability insurance).

About the Author

Julie I. Fershtman is one of the nation’s most experienced equine law practitioners and is also author of three books on horse-related law. Her website is